Pakistan Earthquake Relief Operations: Leveraging Humanitarian Missions for Strategic Success
United States Marine Corps Washington United States
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On Christmas morning 2005, at Saint Patricks Catholic Church in Auckland, New Zealand, a priest stepped up to the pulpit to deliver his sermon. Christmas is a time of giving. And this morning, he said, while holding aloft a thick, off-white wool blanket, several hundred children suffering from the after effects of the earthquake in northern Pakistan will wake up and receive one of these. The priest then explained that several local farmers came to him wanting to do something special for Christmas. Through the churchs coordination with relief agencies in Pakistan, the farmers learned that bedding was desperately needed and made hundreds of wool blankets from the fleece of their sheep. The church shipped these blankets to Pakistan, where they were distributed by helicopters to villages and into the hands of cold children. Ten weeks earlier, I had participated in the III Marine Expeditionary Force III MEF planning effort on Okinawa, Japan, to deploy a task-organized detachment of approximately 250 Sailors and Marines to Pakistan to provide humanitarian assistancedisaster relief HADR. Listening to the priests Christmas sermon, I began to understand the multiplicative positive effects that can spring from a well-planned and well-executed HADR campaign.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics